"Us Versus Them: Distinguishing Host and Microbial Cells with Glycans" Stieglitz Lecture with University of Chicago: Prof. Laura Kiessling (UW-Madison)

Created by Josh Kurutz on Jan 24, 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015 at Gordon Center for Integrative Science, University of Chicago, 929 E. 57th St., Chicago, IL 60637

Starts at 6:00 PM · Ends on Feb 12, 2015 at 10:30 PM, EDT (America/New_York)

  • Josh Kurutz

Kiessling chem website pic reduced.jpgABSTRACT

All cells are covered with a coat of glycans, yet the glycans on mammalian cells can differ markedly from those on microbial surfaces. In principle, these differences in glycosylation could be exploited. Specifically, agents that selectively block the biosynthetic enzymes found only in microbes would serve as new antimicrobial leads. Moreover, glycan differences could be used by host carbohydrate-binding proteins or lectins to distinguish themselves from their microbial guests. We are exploring how the cell surface carbohydrate coat of microbes is built and how it can be detected by human lectins. This seminar will focus on these topics and their implications for the human immune system and for devising new anti-microbial therapies.


  • 5:00 - 6:30  Registration & Social Hour
  • 6:30 - 6:35  Introductory remarks by Iness Miller, 2015 Chicago ACS Chair
  • 6:35 - 6:45  Julius Stielitz and the Stieglitz Lecture - Josh Kurutz, Stieglitz Committee Chair
  • 6:45 - 7:45  Stieglitz Lecture by Prof. Kiessling
  • 8:15 -          Dinner in the GCIS atrium



BIOGRAPHY: Prof. Laura Kiessling

Laura received her undergraduate training in Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There she conducted undergraduate research in organic synthesis with Professor Bill Roush. She received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Yale University where she worked with Stuart L. Schreiber on the synthesis of anti-tumor natural products. Her postdoctoral training at the California Institute of Technology in the research group of Peter B. Dervan led her to explore the recognition of duplex DNA through triple helix formation. She began her independent career in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1991.

She is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the American Academy of Microbiology, and National Academy of Sciences. Laura's honors and awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, an ACS Frances P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal, a Harrison-Howe Award, an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, the Hudson Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry, the Alfred Bader Award in Bioorganic or Bioinorganic Chemistry, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. She is also the founding editor-in-chief of ACS Chemical Biology.


Her interdisciplinary research interests focus on elucidating and exploiting the mechanisms of cell surface recognition processes, especially those involving protein-glycan interactions. Another major research interest is multivalency and its role in recognition, signal transduction, and direction of cell fate.

Gordon Center for Integrative Science, University of Chicago, 929 E. 57th St., Chicago, IL 60637